Local Tracy Philippi, ex Army ranger, stopped a burglary in progress and held the suspect at gunpoint until a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department deputy arrived to make the arrest.
Lt. Geoff Raya at Hemet Station confirmed an arrest had been made and, in essence, confirmed Philippi’s account of the Monday night, Oct. 10, attempted burglary. The suspect was arrested, but his name has not yet been released.
Philippi said he looks after a home on Scenic, a second home owned by a doctor. “I got a call from a neighbor around 8 p.m. who noticed activity in the house and vehicles parked in front,” said Philippi. When he got there, lights were on and a blue quad ATV and truck were parked in front. He saw movement in the house and saw a man outside the house, dressed in black and with gloves on. Philippi inquired what the man was doing there. He replied, “I’m on the Neighborhood Watch.” At that point, Philippi told the man to get down on the ground and held him there while calling 911 dispatch.
The man said he needed to leave because there were felony warrants out for his arrest, Philippi reported. “You’re not going anywhere,” said Philippi. “This is not my first rodeo and I will shoot you if you move.”
RCSD deputies arrived around 10 p.m. and made the arrest.
The arrested man and his girlfriend, who ran out of the house and was not apprehended, had allegedly been packing boxes with possessions from the house. They had apparently already taken away a TV and laptop in a previous trip, according to Philippi.
RCSD’s Raya advised residents to be watchful. “Criminals are looking for opportunities,” he said. “Homes without alarms, second homes that aren’t occupied each day.” Raya said it seemed obvious the home had been cased in advanced by the burglars. “Be vigilant and be aware of opportunities for criminals,” he said.